Belfast Telegraph

Fired-up James McLaughlin eager to repay boss Kearney

By Keith Thomas

Oran Kearney believes new addition James McLaughlin can help Coleraine solve their goalscoring problems.

The striker came off the bench to grab the only goal of the game against Glentoran and his new boss has high hopes for more of the same.

"James has been scoring goals for fun around the lower leagues for years and I have been aware of his ability," said Kearney.

"We are handing him another chance to crack senior football and I know he will try everything he can to make a go of it."

At work, the 25-year-old creamery employee makes cheese and now he wants to have a slice of Premiership football at the third time of asking.

McLaughlin explained: "I had a spell at Linfield when I was a teenager and it didn't work out. I played junior football but landed at Ballymena United and made a couple of appearances as a sub.

"Things haven't happened for me so now I am determined to work hard for Oran and prove I have what it takes at senior level."

It has been a hard slog already for the newcomer, who was asked to go on a weight loss programme which has paid dividends.

Kearney revealed: "He has shed maybe a stone and a half already since he came to us six weeks before pre-season started. That is all down to a lot of serious commitment. I know he wants to lose even more."

McLaughlin continued: "I reckon I can be even sharper. My aim is to work my way into the starting line-up. I want to be the first name Oran puts down on his teamsheeet every week."

The man from Mosside, County Antrim, is made up to be playing at Ballycastle Road. He added: "Coleraine is my hometown and I'm proud to be playing for the team."

McLaughlin struck after replacing former international Sammy Morrow in the 82nd minute, capitalising on an error by Glens keeper Elliott Morris, who spilled left-back Garth Falconer's cross.

Visiting boss Eddie Patterson conceded Coleraine were the better team on the day. He said: "We got what we deserved and that was nothing because we simply did not turn up and you can't expect to take anything from matches when you under-perform."

COLERAINE: Doherty, Beverland, Mullan, Higgins, Douglas, Ogilby, Morrow, Harkin, Brown, Parkhill, Falconer. Subs: McLaughlin (Morrow, 79 mins), Lyon (Harkin, 90 mins), Watt, McGonigle, Kane.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Garrett, Kane, Birney, Magee, Allen, Stewart, McAlorum, Gordon, McCullough, McKee. Subs: Scullion (McKee, 61 mins), McMenamin (McCullough, 68 mins), Addis, Holland, Hogg

Man of the match: Garth Falconer (right)

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)

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